Urn

Dorianne Laux - 1952-

I feel her swaying
under the earth, deep
in a basket of tree roots,
their frayed silk
keeping her calm,
a carpet of grass singing
Nearer my god to thee,
oak branches groaning in wind
coming up from the sea.

We take on trust the dead
are buried and gone,
the light doused for eternity,
the nevermore of their particulars
ground up, dispersed.
As a child I didn’t know
where the light went
when she flipped the switch,
though I once touched
the dark bulb that burned
my fingertips, studied the coiled
element trapped inside
seething with afterglow.

More by Dorianne Laux

A Short History of the Apple

The crunch is the thing, a certain joy in crashing through
living tissue, a memory of Neanderthal days.
   —Edward Bunyard, The Anatomy of Dessert, 1929


Teeth at the skin. Anticipation.
Then flesh. Grain on the tongue.
Eve's knees ground in the dirt
of paradise. Newton watching
gravity happen. The history
of apples in each starry core,
every papery chamber's bright
bitter seed. Woody stem
an infant tree. William Tell
and his lucky arrow. Orchards
of the Fertile Crescent. Bushels.
Fire blight. Scab and powdery mildew.
Cedar apple rust. The apple endures.
Born of the wild rose, of crab ancestors.
The first pip raised in Kazakhstan.
Snow White with poison on her lips.
The buried blades of Halloween.
Budding and grafting. John Chapman
in his tin pot hat. Oh Westward
Expansion. Apple pie. American
as. Hard cider. Winter banana.
Melt-in-the-mouth made sweet
by hives of Britain's honeybees:
white man's flies. O eat. O eat.